The nonstop decay and the RNA silencing systems operate cooperatively in plants
Translation-dependent mRNA quality control systems protect the protein homeostasis of eukaryotic cells by eliminating aberrant transcripts and stimulating the decay of their protein products. Although these systems are intensively studied in animals, little is known about the translation-dependent quality control systems in plants. Here, we characterize the mechanism of nonstop decay (NSD) system in Nicotiana benthamiana model plant. We show that plant NSD efficiently degrades nonstop mRNAs, which can be generated by premature polyadenylation, and stop codon-less transcripts, which are produced by endonucleolytic cleavage. We demonstrate that in plants, like in animals, Pelota, Hbs1 and SKI2 proteins are required for NSD, supporting that NSD is an ancient and conserved eukaryotic quality control system. Relevantly, we found that NSD and RNA silencing systems cooperate in plants. Plant silencing predominantly represses target mRNAs through endonucleolytic cleavage in the coding region. Here we show that NSD is required for the elimination of 5′ cleavage product of mi- or siRNA-guided silencing complex when the cleavage occurs in the coding region. We also show that NSD and nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) quality control systems operate independently in plants.
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